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10 Commandments OK in gov't buildings under bill

ATLANTA (AP) — A copy of the Ten Commandments could be posted in all Georgia government buildings and schools under a bill passed unanimously Tuesday by House lawmakers.

Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, is seeking to expand a 2006 law that already permits the passage from the Old Testament to be displayed in judicial buildings and courthouses when accompanied by other historical documents deemed to have influenced the U.S. legal system. Georgia lawmakers passed that original law one year after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 struck down Commandment displays in two Kentucky courthouses, ruling they appeared to be a government endorsement of Christianity.

His latest bill passed by a vote of 161-0 and now heads to the state Senate. It has few vocal opponents and a strong chance of passing in a Bible Belt legislature.

"If you look at the law of the United States, we have a lot of laws that are based on the Christian and Jewish Ten Commandments, so I felt that was a very appropriate item to be put in there," Benton said.

His opponents argue the bill would allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in school buildings, an area where courts typically draw a sharper line in favor of the secular in disputes over church and state.

"There's a faulty premise there and that is that The Ten Commandments has anything to do with the civil laws of the United States — it does not, of course," said Barry Lynn, a Christian minister and the executive director of the Washington-based Americans United For Separation Of Church and State. "We don't make it illegal to dishonor our mother and father. We don't have blasphemy laws."

Lynn predicted that expanding the displays could provoke a lawsuit. Lawyers for his group last year counted at least at least five other states — Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, South Dakota and Oklahoma — that passed resolutions or laws promoting the display of the Commandments in public buildings.

"This is the kind of thing that raises a gigantic red flag and on that flag are the words, 'Sue us,'" he said.

Georgia lawmakers say they have non-religious reasons for displaying the Ten Commandments. Under state law, the commandments can only be put up in courthouses when side-by-side eight other same-sized texts that lawmakers say educate the public about the history of American law. Few people have publicly clamored for widespread study of some of those more obscure documents on that list, like the 1215 Magna Carta from King John of England.

The display also includes the 1620 Mayflower Compact, the U.S. Declaration of Independence, "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national motto ("In God We Trust"), the U.S. Bill of Rights, the preamble of Georgia's constitution, the U.S. Bill of Rights and a description about the image of Lady Justice.

Comments

Say_that_again 2 years, 7 months ago

Yeah! We got so many terrific ideas from the 10 commandments! Read 'em over and discovered that we did utilize "thou shall not steal" and "thy shall not kill". Then we have eight others for which we seem to have no laws. Adultery was practiced by at least one of our presidential candidates and all of them seem to be guilty of "Bearing false witness". Not to mention how many exalt Money over God. When are we going to demand the display of the Code of Hammurabi? The 282 laws predating the 10 Commandments and containing many more rules on which our laws are based. Wait! Does this mean we might be required to post Sharia Law? Nah, Muslims won't complain, just need to appease the Atheist.

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NewsReader 2 years, 7 months ago

"...Georgia lawmakers passed that original law one year after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 struck down Commandment displays in two Kentucky courthouses, ruling they appeared to be a government endorsement of Christianity..."

You know what's wrong with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling? The Ten Commandments don't have anything to do with Christianity. Now when was it the Ten Commandments were produced again? Darn those pesky details!

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BurritoJones 2 years, 7 months ago

So I can only assume the other commenters in this thread will be just as supportive when Georgia's Muslim or Hindu students would like the same respectful treatment be given to their religious texts?

"Freedom of religion" does not mean "freedom to practice MY religion."

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RiggaTony 2 years, 7 months ago

Great news. People need to be forced to recognize that all of our laws are derived from the Christian tenets of the 10 Commandments. If not for these commandments, it would have never occurred to our founding fathers that murder and theft are wrong.

Being able to put them in schools is even more important. The problem is that while I can make sure my children are exposed to Christian beliefs, I can't go into other peoples' homes and make sure their children are receiving a Christian education. Getting this document into schools is the next best thing.

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Jan 2 years, 7 months ago

And how many really take the 10 commandments seriously? The fourth is "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. ...". If you read the bible, you would understand that the Sabbath starts at sundown Friday evening and continues to sundown Saturday evening. Then we have these crazy "blue laws" that stop certain activities on Sunday from 12:00AM until 11:59PM. Posting the commandments, like "under God" added to the pledge in 1954 and the motto changed to "In God We Trust" in 1956, are religious reactions to court decisions that fanatical religious people do not understand. People that think the majority has a right to force certain parts of their beliefs onto others.

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